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Old 06-23-2009, 11:15 AM   #1
adkeditor
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Offensive names

I saw an article in the Wall Street Journal recently about a dispute over the name of a dirt road. Originally, it was called Squaw Point Road, but Maine has banned the use of "squaw" in place names as it's considered offensive.

In the Adirondacks, we have Squaw Mountain, Squaw Lake, Squaw Brook and Little Squaw Brook.

Is it time to change this names? Or at least discuss it?

If you have an opinion, please register here and on my blog:

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Old 06-23-2009, 11:42 AM   #2
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Unfortunately there's always a group of people who

A) Have too much free time on their hands

and

B) Are always looking to find something that offends them

And unfortunately instead of telling these people to "go away", "get a real job" or "get a life" cowardly politicans almost always cave in to them

But if you think Squaw is bad, wait to one of these loser (groups) finds out that in the Adirondacks we also have a Coon Mtn.(Which was in fact named for a black settlement near it's base not because of Racoons), Negro Hill and a town named Swastika
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Old 06-23-2009, 11:45 AM   #3
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I really didn't know there was a negative connotation to the word "squaw". In all likelihood, there probably isn't, and this is just another case of liberal political correctness running amok.

If you do a google search, you will find many "Squaw Lakes" throughout the country. You'll also find many "Negro Lakes" and "Ginnie Lakes". What about "Spic -n- Span", the cleaning product? Should we start renaming hundreds of geographic features all throughout the country to appeal to some busybody acitivist who has nothing else to occupy his/her time with, except to get people riled up about nothing? Should we ban cigar-store Indians? Should American Natives even be called "Indians", considering they had nothing to do with India?

I'm not insensitive to obvious racial slurs, but I consider a name like "Squaw Lake" a sort of honor, representing the history of the people who once lived there.
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Old 06-23-2009, 12:32 PM   #4
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I really didn't know there was a negative connotation to the word "squaw". In all likelihood, there probably isn't, and this is just another case of liberal political correctness running amok.

If you do a google search, you will find many "Squaw Lakes" throughout the country. You'll also find many "Negro Lakes" and "Ginnie Lakes".
There's a lake to the NE of Stillwater that had an even more offensive N-word (oops, can I say that here?) name on older maps. It was changed to the less offensive form, and may be changed yet again.

A few years ago some group (peta?) wanted to change all the place names in the Catskills that ended with "kill" as being offensive, not realizing that "kill" given by original Dutch settlers refers to a stream or ravine and is not an English verb in this context.

Then there are those who object to "the rocket's red glare" and "bombs bursting in air" in a certain song, not stopping to think of what the implications are to the meaning of what it took to get to where they are now able to live, and to even have the ability to make such comments.
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Old 06-23-2009, 02:37 PM   #5
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Good ol' Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Squaw
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Old 06-23-2009, 04:39 PM   #6
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no there! tnx Dick. Looncry
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Old 06-23-2009, 06:46 PM   #7
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Let's google map Swastika, New York (INSIDE THE BLUE LINE) in Clinton County.
Anyways, people attempt to change something for no reason all the time. I guess things are not watered down enough. Someday all we will have is route#2 in village 2317. Nothing linked to the past.
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Old 06-23-2009, 06:52 PM   #8
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Generally a group of people who make up an ethnic, racial or religious group are the ones who have legitimate basis to find and assert that a name or title attributed to them by others is offensive. Doing so does not make the group one which has "too much time on their hands" or "always looking to find something that offends them". Nor does this create a legitimate reason to tell them to 'go away, get a real job or get a life'.

More important to Adirondack issues is that this isn't really an Adirondack issue but a general political/social issue. While it might be said that you are the actaully the one finding an issue to be offended by, I won't tell you to go away, get a real job or get a life .
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Old 06-23-2009, 07:31 PM   #9
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I went to the Mohonasen school district in Rotterdam as a kid. The sports teams were named the "Warriors" complete with Native American head, and tomahawk. Shortly after I left, the school had to paint over all representations of Native American connections because they were "socially unacceptable".

I still haven't figured it out, if anything it made some students read more into American history to learn about the Native American's. From my perspective, we painted over some of our history in the name of political/social correctness with a thick layer of white paint.
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Old 06-23-2009, 07:41 PM   #10
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An Abenaki woman's point of view on the word "squaw" (posted on VFTT, where the same discussion is taking place):

http://www.nativeweb.org/pages/legal/squaw.html

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Old 06-23-2009, 07:41 PM   #11
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There was a news article a few years back about out in like California.
There was a "Jap Road."
And some people wanted it changed since it was a racial slur.

The reason it was called Jap Road was that the old farmer that had built the road and lived there a long time, was Japanese.

The guy had died a few years before.
But they interviewed his daughter.
And she said that he did not have a problem with it when he was alive.

It was named like alot of roads that have no name.
The locals start calling it something, it sticks and becomes official.

Then again the people that need to buy a life are in Great Britian too.

There was a road call Cow SH!T Lane.
And people who did not even live on the street wanted it changed.
Now the people that did live on the street, which it sounded like was a well populated street.
NOT A ONE, wanted to change it.

I personally would be fine living on a street by that name.
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Old 06-23-2009, 08:26 PM   #12
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Quote:
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Generally a group of people who make up an ethnic, racial or religious group are the ones who have legitimate basis to find and assert that a name or title attributed to them by others is offensive.
I'm offended by Cracker Pond and Whiteface Mtn.

And being that I someday might lose my hair, those 20 something variations of
"Bald" in naming things (i.e Bald peak, Baldface Mtn, etc) also really hurts

As well as Lost Pond must be real offensive to people who have relatives that really got lost in the woods and died.
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Old 06-23-2009, 08:37 PM   #13
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Check this out.
I have three sons.
They will be playing for the local school team,,,,,The Trojans.
And by the way may last name is Congdon.

I have a 3 pack of Trojan Congdons
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Old 06-23-2009, 10:46 PM   #14
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An Abenaki woman's point of view on the word "squaw" (posted on VFTT, where the same discussion is taking place):

http://www.nativeweb.org/pages/legal/squaw.html

Dick
The problem is that the same pronunciation of a word means different things in different Native Languages. It does in fact what would be considered an obscene reference to a womans anatomy in several Native dialects.I don't know who the woman on Native web is, I have never heard of her, Neither has my friend Elie who is the LAST speaker of the Abanaki language left alive. Suffice it to say that there are Native Women who find the word offensive as I am sure many of the wives of members here would if the word where in English.

I find it offensive. I do not have a problem with words like Tomahawk, or Indian or warrior, etc. I think that some people take things too far but in this case, I agree that it is offensive.

Hawk
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Old 06-24-2009, 07:16 AM   #15
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The problem is that the same pronunciation of a word means different things in different Native Languages. It does in fact what would be considered an obscene reference to a womans anatomy in several Native dialects.I don't know who the woman on Native web is, I have never heard of her, Neither has my friend Elie who is the LAST speaker of the Abanaki language left alive. Suffice it to say that there are Native Women who find the word offensive as I am sure many of the wives of members here would if the word where in English.

I find it offensive. I do not have a problem with words like Tomahawk, or Indian or warrior, etc. I think that some people take things too far but in this case, I agree that it is offensive.

Hawk
I certainly understand that the meaning of a word, regardless of its origin, can have its meaning changed over time, as has been pointed out in this thread. The word "gay" is an interesting example.

I agree, if a word is considered offensive to Native Americans, it is offensive and shouldn't be used, regardless of its origin.

As to who Marge Bruchac is, she is apparently a Native American scholar at U/Mass/Amherst. I found some interesting links (your friend Elie is on one of the language links):


http://h-net.msu.edu/cgi-bin/logbrow...P9jg&user=&pw=

http://www.vermontfolklifecenter.org...glossary.shtml


http://www.native-languages.org/abenaki.htm

But to Phil Brown's original question: should Adirondack names like Squaw Mountain, Squaw Lake, Squaw Brook and Little Squaw Brook be changed? Or are their names enough of a "piece of history" to remain?

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Old 06-24-2009, 08:25 AM   #16
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As to the orognal question, I kind of like Marge's suggestion which maintains history, and reflects understanding and honor:

"A more useful resolution of place names issues would be one that acknowledges and enforces respect for indigenous peoples and languages. Before we erase names, we must erase misunderstandings. How do we rename every "Squaw Rock," without forgetting the history? One way is to reclaim the original language. "Squaw Peak" might become "Ktsioskwa," "great woman," or another appropriate name chosen by the indigenous people."
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Old 06-24-2009, 01:10 PM   #17
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As to the orognal question, I kind of like Marge's suggestion which maintains history, and reflects understanding and honor:

"A more useful resolution of place names issues would be one that acknowledges and enforces respect for indigenous peoples and languages. Before we erase names, we must erase misunderstandings. How do we rename every "Squaw Rock," without forgetting the history? One way is to reclaim the original language. "Squaw Peak" might become "Ktsioskwa," "great woman," or another appropriate name chosen by the indigenous people."
The problem there is what "indigenous" peoples language do you use? The Adirondacks at different times were controlled/occupied by Algonquin speaking people as well as two of the nations of the Iroquois. Nether of which lived in the Adirondacks full time.
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Old 06-24-2009, 04:46 PM   #18
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The problem there is what "indigenous" peoples language do you use? The Adirondacks at different times were controlled/occupied by Algonquin speaking people as well as two of the nations of the Iroquois. Nether of which lived in the Adirondacks full time.
This would make it a localized issue then. Still, the people who are described by a name are best equipped to know if the name amounts to a mockery of them while the users tend to be dismissive even when it should be an obvious slight. Racial, religious, nationality, ect. distinctions deserve some deference as they really should not be fair game for insult. Distinguishing groups formed by their merit and conduct isn't inherently unfair so much.
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Old 06-24-2009, 11:19 PM   #19
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Hmm.

Ever drive through Intercourse on your way to Blue Ball , Pa?
Now That's Offensive... Funny though.

Big Bone Lick State Park... completely unacceptable....
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Old 06-25-2009, 07:31 PM   #20
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Check this out.
I have three sons.
They will be playing for the local school team,,,,,The Trojans.
And by the way may last name is Congdon.

I have a 3 pack of Trojan Congdons


You had me laughing out loud !

Go USC! Naw, i am guessing it is little league or something right?
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